eSports are growing in popularity across the globe, but the mobile eSports segment is predicted to dominate the landscape in the future. Find out more!
The easiest way to understand the rise of mobile eSports is to look at the eSports market. According to Statista, esports were responsible for 130 million dollars in revenue in 2012. In 2022, the market for esports is forecasted to climb to just under 1.8 billlion.
In this piece, we're not just talking about esports, but a new frontier in the exploding market — mobile gaming. With massive mobile users growth it's causing some close to the industry to wonder: is it the beginning of a new era dominance for mobile esports in 2020?
Mobile eSports: Explained
Anyone who's familiar with esports in general needs very little introduction to mobile esports games. Esports, which have traditionally involved consoles or computers, is now growing in popularity with mobile (phone and tablet) device users.
Some of the leading mobile esports games — like PUBG and Fortnite — are mobile versions of games that have long been popular on other consoles. Others, like Clash Royale, are native to the mobile interface.
Due to growing players engage in competitions for supremacy and often, cash winnings. It has drawn revenue from a variety of sources, sparked game developers to try to unlock the formula for the games that catch on in the esports community. This has even prompted some of America's largest educational institutions to start investing in esports programs.
Mobile gaming is a continuation of this growth into new markets. Not only does this mean that game developers are investing in mobile development, it means that more and more sponsors are jumping on board before they get left behind.
Companies Getting Involved in eSports
Some of the game developers involved in mobile esports are well-known:
Epic games made Fortnite, the game that swept the nation in 2017 and 2018. Mobile developer Supercell struck gold in esports, first with Clash of Clans, and again with the updated Clash Royale.
The streaming market that makes up the majority mobile gaming viewership is led by YouTube and Twitch. But that's not all, services owned by Google and Amazon, respectively are trying to gain market share too.
eSports has also picked up some high-profile sponsors. Professional sports teams, Coca-Cola, Comcast, Red Bull, and other multinational corporations are lining of for a slice of the ever-growing pie.
Types of Mobile eSports Games
The esports market is made up a variety of different types of games. These include: fighting games, racing games, sports games, first person shooters (FPS), multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games, real-time strategy (RTS) games, and more. But not all of these translate seamlessly to mobile play.
Here are some of the largest genres in mobile esports:
MOBA: Mobile MOBA esports has swept the nation, with two of the top games — Player Unknown's Battleground (PUBG) and Fortnite — falling in this category.
RTS: Because mobile screens don't tend to be large enough to support the same graphics as computer or television screens, mobile esports have enabled gamers to get in on the ground floor. The so-called "casual" real-time strategy games like Clash Royale and Arena of Valor are some of the most popular in the esports industry.
Mobile eSports Tournaments
First of all, mobile gaming tournaments can happen both on and offline. But in-person mobile gaming events are less common (for now) than traditional eSports formats.
Because of this, tournaments are more fragmented, highlighting the need for a third-party to aggregate announcements and upcoming events. The Mobile Gaming League is a website that aggregates information mobile esports games, including on and offline tournaments and more.
One growing platform for mobile gaming is Skillz, a company that hosts competitions in several games' native engines.
As a result of the revenue from sponsors and advertising, some of the most popular mobile esports games have significant prize pools (see below).
The Top 10 Mobile eSports Games
Looking to earn real money by trying your luck at mobile gaming? Here are some of the most lucrative games in the industry.
1. Player Unknown's Battleground (PUBG)
The popular "battle royale" game has led the surge in demand for competitive mobile games, one of the few games with a structured esports league, featuring regular events all over the world. The 2019 tournament featured a prize pool of around $2 million.
2. Fortnite Mobile
Published by Epic games the developer that started the battle royale craze. It should be noted that many of the games that have swept the mobile esports world are in a category called "freemium", where they're free to play, but winning typically involves real investment.
3. Clash Royale
This RTS game from Supercell, is another game benefiting from a structured esports league due to its popularity. Clash Royale is just one of Supercell's portfolio of mobile esports hits, along with Clash of Clans and Brawl Stars.
4. Guns of Boom
With a $500,000 prize pool in league play, Guns of Boom is a cartoonish FPS with smooth gameplay and an aesthetically pleasing design.
5. Cube Cube
Because of the smash hit Cube Cube being so lucrative games for this developer. They have released other titles include: Solitaire Cube, Jewel Blitz, and more.
6. Asphalt 9: Legends
Perhaps most noteworthy, Gameloft announced that the 9th installment of the Asphalt racing game series was going to focus on eSports. They created an event with a prize pool of over $22,000 in 2019.
7. Honor of Kings
Backed by the Chinese gaming juggernaut Tencent. Honor of Kings is another in a long list of MOBA strategy games that have swept the world of esports, playing in the King Pro League.
8. Mobile Legends: Bang Bang
The Mobile Legends series of games is most popular in Southeast Asia, and the most recent title is a feature of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
9. Hearthstone Mobile
Hearthstone, from legendary developer Blizzard, is one the company's first forays into the world of mobile games.
10. Call of Duty Mobile
The latest addition to Activision's series of FPS titles, Call of Duty Mobile promises to make a splash once it announces the details of its mobile esports engagement.